About National Parks
The many natural wonders of America prompted the United States government to start setting aside national parks in 1872 with the formation of Yellowstone National Park. As more parks were created, the National Park Service was created on August 25, 1916. Stephen Tyng Mather is credited with being the impetus behind the Park Service and its practices. Currently, there are 391 units that are part of the National Park system, including those designated as parks, monuments, historic parks, recreation areas and others. Many of the parks are very famous and busy while many are obscure and quiet. In all, 84 million acres are included in the National Park system
The National Park Service has gone to great lengths to preserve these sites in their natural or original condition, free from the encumbrances of civilization. In a new way, UntraveledRoad is doing its part to preserve these national treasures in extensive virtual tours comprising tens of thousands of images.
What to See in the National Parks
Below is a sampling of the wide variety of scenery to be found in the National Park system, and which you can visit right now in an online tour. See also the list to the right, linking to tours of each of the individual parks featured on UntraveledRoad.
The Delicate Arch Trail begins at a parking area on Delicate Arch Road and travels a couple miles to the signature natural arch, traversing a desert terrain of slickrock, rock formations and panoramic vistas. Delicate Arch is found in Arches National Park, home to over 2,000 natural arches.
Kelso Sand Dunes
While thousands of tourists may visit Delicate Arch in a day, you'll probably be alone at the Kelso Sand Dunes, a network of sand dunes which stretch for 45 miles in the deserts of the Mohave Preserve in southern California. The tallest of the dunes is 600 feet high, and they are a spectacular sight visible from a great distance away.
Ridge Lakes Trail
The Ridge Lakes Trail begins near the Sulphur Works at Lassen Volcanic Park. The trail climbs about 3 miles from the highway through evergreen forests and alpine vegetation to a pair of beautiful alpine lakes. The steaming vents of the nearby Sulphur Works are a bit of Yellowstone in California.
The Tanner Trail is one of several that makes the deep descent into the Grand Canyon. It begins at Lipan Point on the South Rim and makes a steep descent down an unnamed gully in the cliff face until it reaches a saddle between two canyons. Crossing the saddle, it skirts the bottom of Escalante Butte and Cardenas Butte. For a couple miles it stays nearly level. During this stretch, the Watchtower at Desert View is a conspicuous landmark at the top of the facing cliffs. It ends at the Colorado River.
For More Information
See the National Park Service's official website at www.nps.gov.